Mentorship is overrated, especially during the first years of one’s technical career.
But Why Is Mentorship Overrated?
Not because mentors lack the skills or experience to help out. There’s simply too much emphasis on the need for mentorship for one’s successful career.
Great mentors are highly experienced, somewhat successful, and extremely busy. This effectively reduces the number of “available” mentors across the board. So, it’s safe to say that for every great mentor, there are probably 1,000 or more potential candidates who may benefit from their services.
Since that’s virtually impossible to happen, people insisting on having a mentor tend to rant about having none, asking on forums for available resources, or get someone of their peers to help out (which leads to unpredictable results).
Developers Need To Take Action
It’s about making the first move and iterating upon that, over and over. With time, results will come, and the following experience will raise real-world questions.
Mentorship is only effective when built upon a solid foundation. If a recent graduate isn’t even sure what they plan to do over the next few years, a mentor won’t be of use.
A junior engineer with a year or two on the job has a lot more to learn before deciding on a possible career jump or the advancement into a consulting role, a senior software architect, or a technical project manager.
Mentorship was barely discussed a decade ago, or even 6–7 years back. It suddenly became viral and people mistakenly believed that every successful person was born and raised with a mentor alongside. Same goes for 1-on-1 trainers.
Mentors Can Be Invaluable Later In Your Career
As an already successful professional eager to step up their game. Working hard for a continuous period of time is likely to rank you higher, and land you great job opportunities. But a mentor can take you to the next level with some guidance, direction, and help you refine your action plan accordingly.
It may be rough at first, especially if you don’t have a vision for your own career. And this may lead to some trial and error until you figure it out. Once you do, work hard for a while, get to the point of being productive and satisfied, and look for a mentor who can push your boundaries even further.